Customer Perception Drivers and Timing
Experience Quality (Service Operations Quality) Perceptions
Profitability of Demand Drivers
Time Allocations in a Non-Active Region
Unfilled Orders in the Service Center Statistics Report
“Is low CSR utilization bad?”
Low CSR utilization means that the CSRs have lots of time to service customers so service quality goes up ... but it costs your firm to have such a low level of utilization since the CSRs have lots of "unused" time.
To increase utilization, reduce CSRs (don't hire more CSRs and let attribution reduce the CSR count) or reallocate their time toward another service in that region (that has higher utilization) or try to increase demand for that service.
“Are design quality, experience quality, and accessibility perceptions a function of current-quarter conditions or previous-quarter conditions?”
Design quality (service design quality), experience quality (service operations quality), and accessibility perceptions presumably are mostly based on current-quarter conditions, with previous-quarter conditions having some possible residual impact on current-quarter customer perceptions. While this is a reasonable generality, experience quality (service operations quality) perceptions are more complicated. Since experience quality (service experience quality) perceptions are based on customer surveys, customers are surveyed this quarter about their service experiences, most of which probably occurred in the previous quarter. Thus, last quarter's conditions (e.g., service levels and performance) influence this quarter's experience quality (service operations quality) perceptions.
“What drives experience quality (service operations quality) perceptions?”
Call center usage rate (lower is better from the customer's viewpoint), CSR salary (higher salary attracts, retains, and motivates more-able service personnel), and turnover (training of new CSRs takes time and energy away from providing customer service) all influence service quality perception.
The following video provides advice for your LINKS team about assessing the profitability of the wide range of potential demand drivers that might affect your LINKS business.
“Why is our Service Overhead so high?”
Service representatives incur direct and indirect expenses in connection with providing customer service. Direct expenses generated are in terms of fringe benefits (health insurance, government taxes of various kinds, and so on) and long-distance charges. Indirect costs to support service representatives include periodic service training activities, service management overhead, office support, infrastructure support related to call center technology, and the like. The services overhead rate is detailed in your LINKS participant's manual. Your firm is automatically billed for the direct and indirect costs associated with maintaining service representatives in each market region. These service expenses are recorded as "Service O/H" on your financial statements.
Your firm is automatically billed for the direct and indirect costs associated with maintaining service representatives in each market region. These service expenses are recorded as "Service O/H" on your financial statements.
“Is service recovery a part of the LINKS services simulations”
Service recovery efforts are specific to a transaction. The student teams are managing their firms using quarterly data in the LINKS services simulations. Hence, LINKS could (at best) include the design of a service recovery program, but not the handling of a specific transaction. The LINKS student teams are controlling service recovery with service design and execution (e.g., training of representatives and time spent on transactions), but they aren't directly designing a service recovery program.
Student teams observe complaint statistics, satisfaction ratings, retention rates and customer lifetime value ... but, of course, these are aggregate level data. However, LINKS works as it should ... a better-designed service program delivers better outcomes for customers (e.g., satisfaction) and for the firm (retention and profitability).
Exhibits 3 and 4 in the LINKS participant’s manual show how the design and execution of the service experience influence customer and firm outcomes.
If you don't already use a service recovery exercise in your course, it is a nice complement LINKS. The basic idea of the exercise is that students journal about a satisfactory/dis-satisfactory encounter, write a compliment/complaint letter and then describe the response from the firm (if any). This sort of exercise helps make the design issues "real" for the students -- from a customer standpoint. At the same time, LINKS helps them understand how a manager sees the same issues from the firm's standpoint.
“How are "Service Salaries" on the financial reports calculated? We seem to have a number that’s 50% higher than multiplying the number of CSRs in the region times region’s CSR monthly salary.?”
"Service Salaries" (total CSR salaries) on the financial reports for a region equals the number of CSRs in a region times the region’s CSR monthly salary times 3. The "times 3" multiplier converts CSR monthly salary to CSR quarterly salary, since each round in LINKS corresponds to a quarter (three months). Then, "Service Salaries" (the share of total CSR salaries allocated to a particular service) equals the CSR % time allocation to a service in a region times the total CSR salaries for a region. For example, with 100 CSRS in a region and a CSR monthly salary of $3,000, total quarterly CSR salaries in that region equals $900,000. And, a service with a 50% CSR time allocation in that region would have $450,000 in "Service Salaries" allocated to it.
“If we're not currently active in a region, what do we do about the CSR time allocations which must sum to 100% in every region?”
If you're not active in a region, CSR time allocations are irrelevant. Any percentage time allocation times zero CSRs yields zero. But, the percentage CSR time allocations must still sum to 100% in every region, even if you're not currently active in a region.
“In Quarter 8, our firm has no unfilled orders on our Corporate P&L Report but our Quarter 8 Service Center Statistics Report shows unfilled orders. How can this be?”
The Service Center Statistics Report details in-bound calls to a firm's call center about various topics (listed in the report). The unfilled-orders calls are not "unfilled orders" but in-bound calls to the call center about unfilled orders this quarter and in the past. The fill rate in the past for your firm was less than 100%, so some of those customers called in this quarter about unfilled orders in the past.